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Super Hornet ‘Not Interchangable’ With F-35, Says US Air Force Secretary

Defense News // January 06, 2017

If US President-elect Donald Trump moves forward with trying to supplant Lockheed Martin’s F-35 with Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, he can expect to find opposition from the Air Force, the service’s top civilian said.

Trump made waves in December when — just a day after meeting the Defense Department’s F-35 program chief and CEOs from Lockheed and Boeing — he tweeted out that he had asked Boeing to price out a Super Hornet that would be “comparable” to an F-35.

USAF photo

While the president can determine whether to cancel a weapons program or direct the military to start a new one, the Air Force remains a strong supporter of the F-35 program, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told Defense News in a Jan. 5 interview.

“The Air Force does not view the F/A-18 and the F-35 to be substitutable at all,” she said. “They fulfill different requirements. They’re both fine aircraft, don’t get me wrong. But it’s fourth generation, and F-35 is fifth generation.” 

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